Washington Post: Scathing SBA watchdog report details ‘pervasive’ fraud in coronavirus disaster-loan program

Washington Post: Scathing SBA watchdog report details ‘pervasive’ fraud in coronavirus disaster-loan program. “A federal watchdog reported Tuesday that it has identified $250 million in taxpayer-subsidized coronavirus loan funds given to ‘potentially ineligible recipients,’ pointing to a strong likelihood of widespread fraud in an important but troubled economic assistance program. The Small Business Administration’s office of inspector general launched numerous investigations after receiving more than 1,000 hotline complaints about potentially fraudulent transactions, according to a report released Tuesday. It also criticized the agency for allegedly failing to put in place internal controls to prevent abuse.”

Department of Justice: Florida Man who Used COVID-Relief Funds to Purchase Lamborghini Sports Car Charged in Miami Federal Court

Department of Justice: Florida Man who Used COVID-Relief Funds to Purchase Lamborghini Sports Car Charged in Miami Federal Court. “A Florida man was arrested and charged with fraudulently obtaining $3.9 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and using those funds, in part, to purchase a sports car for himself. Authorities seized a $318,000 sports car and $3.4 million from bank accounts at the time of arrest.”

ProPublica: The Small Biz Double-Dip: Temp Companies Got Cheap Government Money, Got Paid by Clients for the Same Workers

ProPublica: The Small Biz Double-Dip: Temp Companies Got Cheap Government Money, Got Paid by Clients for the Same Workers. “Companies typically seek contracted temp workers because they don’t have to pay them benefits and can pick them up and let them go easily. For sudden needs brought on by COVID-19, such as conducting temperature checks and sanitizing workplaces, staffing companies can recruit, vet, hire and supply workers on a few days’ notice. ‘It’s amazing, but our demand for services has just gone through the roof,’ said Charles Tope, the CEO of Monterey, California-based Employnet, which works in industries ranging from health care to warehousing. So it may come as a surprise that temp staffing companies like Employnet were among the biggest beneficiaries of small-business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to help hard-hit firms keep paying their employees.”

‘A Band-Aid on a bullet wound’: Workers are getting laid off anew as PPP runs out (Washington Post)

Washington Post: ‘A Band-Aid on a bullet wound’: Workers are getting laid off anew as PPP runs out. “The phone stopped ringing at the Nelsons’ auto-body shop in Broomfield, Colo., in March. The normal four-to-six-week wait for customers looking to have dents or bumps fixed on their cars disappeared, leaving the shop silent. Tammy Nelson and her husband, Scott, applied in April for a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program — the federal government’s chaotic $660 billion aid program meant to help businesses and their workers stay afloat. But the PPP loan had only delayed the inevitable — the phone didn’t start ringing again amid the surging pandemic. Nelson laid off her five employees at the end of June, including herself and her husband. They are among the first wave of PPP layoffs happening across the country, as the loan program begins to expire.”

Feds begin prosecuting fraudulent PPP coronavirus loans. Some cases will be hard to win (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: Feds begin prosecuting fraudulent PPP coronavirus loans. Some cases will be hard to win. “Ever since the public backlash last April against some large, well-off or nationwide companies that helped themselves to emergency government funds intended to rescue small businesses during the pandemic, federal officials have vowed to crack down on any abuses of the popular program, also known as PPP. That effort is now underway with more than a dozen criminal cases filed in 11 states in recent weeks. All involve allegations of blatant fraud, such as lying on applications, falsifying tax or business records and misappropriating money. And most involve relatively small businesses or individual owners.”

Los Angeles Daily News: Local businesses find more errors in federal PPP loan data

Los Angeles Daily News: Local businesses find more errors in federal PPP loan data. “Loans from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, more commonly known as PPP, were meant to be a lifeline for local businesses navigating the coronavirus pandemic. It succeeded, by almost all accounts, but left news reporters across the country baffled when they found the data, released this month, riddled with errors. The size of some loans were overstated by millions — including one South Bay business whose $66,000 loan was somehow listed as between $5 to $10 million, this newsgroup found — while some were counted twice.”

ProPublica: Thousands of Small Business Owners Have Not Gotten Disaster Loans the Government Promised Them

ProPublica: Thousands of Small Business Owners Have Not Gotten Disaster Loans the Government Promised Them. “A top official said 99% of funds were paid, but only 55% of small business owners reported receiving the money. Borrowers were told there was a technical glitch, but the Small Business Administration would not answer questions about it.”

Different Names, Same Address: How Big Businesses Got Government Loans Meant for Small Businesses (ProPublica)

ProPublica: Different Names, Same Address: How Big Businesses Got Government Loans Meant for Small Businesses. “From Vibra’s corporate address in Pennsylvania, 26 limited liability companies received PPP loans, 23 of them from the same bank, with almost all the loan approvals coming on the same day in April. ProPublica found several other large businesses employing the same apparent strategy of counting each of their LLCs or other entities as a separate business. In Las Vegas, a casino operator backed by hedge funds got 20 loans. Two nursing home chains received tens of millions of dollars: One chain in Illinois got loans for 51 different entities, while another based in Georgia got 19. Together, ProPublica was able to identify up to $516 million that flowed to just 15 organizations.”

NBC News: U.S. units of Chinese companies got coronavirus bailout money

NBC News: U.S. units of Chinese companies got coronavirus bailout money. “The U.S. government has awarded coronavirus relief loans to several subsidiaries of Chinese companies, including one linked to the Chinese military that drew scrutiny from Congress, according to data released by the Treasury Department.”

ProPublica: The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs

ProPublica: The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs. “Three airline industry companies slated to receive $338 million in public money designed to preserve jobs in the hard-hit industry have laid off thousands of workers anyway, according to Treasury disclosure filings and public layoff data.”

Tracking PPP Loans: Search Every Company Approved for Federal Loans Over $150k (ProPublica)

ProPublica: Tracking PPP Loans: Search Every Company Approved for Federal Loans Over $150k. “As part of the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal government provided up to $659 billion in financial support to banks to make low-interest loans to companies and nonprofit organizations in response to the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Search the loans approved by lenders and disclosed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).”

NBC News: Senate Republicans cool to 2nd round of stimulus checks, direct deposits

NBC News: Senate Republicans cool to 2nd round of stimulus checks, direct deposits. “Democrats want another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans up to $1,200 as coronavirus cases rise in dozens of states. President Donald Trump isn’t ruling it out. But Senate Republicans are on the fence or opposed, complicating its prospects.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area charter schools tap tens of millions in federal small business loans

San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area charter schools tap tens of millions in federal small business loans. “Charter schools in the Bay Area received tens of millions of dollars from a federal coronavirus relief program intended for small businesses, money they say is necessary to stay afloat amid the pandemic. The schools are alternatives to traditional public schools and are exempt from many state regulations related to class size, curriculum and teacher tenure, yet still receive state funding.”

NBC News: COVID-19 helped this small syringe business boom. Then came the taxpayer-backed windfall.

NBC News: COVID-19 helped this small syringe business boom. Then came the taxpayer-backed windfall.. “In late March, the Department of Health and Human Services began drafting an $83.8 million order for [Retractable Technologies Inc.] to produce the lion’s share of roughly 330 million needles and syringes for a future COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign. That coincided with private business brisk enough for the company to report a 41.8 percent increase in first-quarter sales compared with the same period in 2019, according to one of its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But despite its good fortune, a few weeks later, on April 17, RTI secured a $1.4 million hardship loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.”

New York Times: Paycheck Program Ends With $130 Billion Unspent, and Uncertainty Ahead

New York Times: Paycheck Program Ends With $130 Billion Unspent, and Uncertainty Ahead. “The program distributed forgivable loans to five million small businesses that could use the money to pay workers to stay home. But shifting rules blunted its effect.”